Vancouver – A 25-year-old Victoria man is urging British Columbians to register as organ donors this April. After battling cystic fibrosis for all of his young life, Matt Schlatter received a new set of lungs from a generous organ donor in 2019. This gift of life allowed him to fulfill his dream of being a paramedic and he now lives a full active life.
"Without the generous gift of an organ donor, I would not be here today. All of the things I didn't have the energy or health to do before my transplant, I'm now able to accomplish and more!" says Matt. "We don't need our organs once we pass away, so why not give them to someone who does? All it takes is two minutes to register as a donor, with the potential to change the lives of people waiting."
April is organ donation awareness month, when people across Canada are encouraged to learn about organ donation, register as an organ donor, and make their wishes known to family and friends.
Rick and Noreen Woodford experienced firsthand the value of knowing their loved one's wishes on organ donation. Their 34-year-old son, Matthew (Mattie), donated four life-saving organs when he died in a house fire in 2018. They were not surprised that Mattie had registered as a donor the day after his eighteenth birthday, as it reflected his kind and generous spirit. They call his gift of life a "bit of light" at a very dark time, and were so proud of his decision.
"We have not had one second of regret for honouring Mattie's wishes," says Noreen. "If you are in the unfortunate position that you can donate your organs, make it easier on your family by registering and telling them your wishes."
On April 7, the Woodfords and thousands of others will participate in Green Shirt Day. The day honours the legacy of Logan Boulet, one of the young hockey players killed in the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018. Logan was a registered donor and donated his organs so that six lives could live on. His selfless act inspired tens of thousands of Canadians to register as organ donors in the days following his donation.
British Columbians are encouraged to take action and register their own decision about organ donation this April and share their wishes with family: www.taketwominutes.ca. Registering as an organ donor offers hope to the almost 700 people waiting for an organ transplant in BC.
"This month, take the opportunity to register as an organ donor and make the most valuable and selfless decision of your life," said Health Minister Adrian Dix. "It's one small, easy step that can have the largest impact on a person's future. The stories of Matt, Rick, Noreen and Mattie demonstrate how crucial this life-saving gift can be."
Organ donation awareness activities in April:
- On April 6 (12:15pm), join BC Transplant, the Boulet family, and transplant recipients for a virtual conversation about the Logan Boulet Effect and how a young man's selfless gift inspired thousands to register as donors.
- Wear green on April 7 for Green Shirt Day to honour the legacy of Logan Boulet and create conversations with others about organ donation and how to register as a donor.
- Check out the various monuments around BC lighting up green in support of organ donation on April 7, including BC Place, Canada Place Sails, the Olympic Cauldron, the BC Legislature, and city halls in North Vancouver, Surrey, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
- On April 15 (12:00pm), join BC Transplant organ donation experts for an "ask me anything" to learn and ask questions about organ donation in BC.
- Take action and register your own decision about organ donation and share your wishes with family: www.taketwominutes.ca
More about Matthew's story: https://youtu.be/dYkMImp3vbg
More about the Woodfords story: https://youtu.be/KEJginoC778
For more information on becoming a donor and helping save lives, visit: www.transplant.bc.ca
Tina Robinson, Communications
Provincial Health Services Authority
Media Line: 778.867.7472